Latest legislative activity (and a good amount of it)

SF233 passed out of the Senate on a 49-0 vote, and was referred to the House.  It does a lot of things, but relevant to city planning it adds due process and clarity to the process for addressing abandoned nuisance properties, and expands the reach of the process to commercial properties (currently applies only to residential properties).

SSB1218 is the Senate’s version of the residential occupancy restriction bill (the House version is HF161).  The Senate version passed out of Local Government committee on a 10-4 vote. The Senate version would permit a city to have an occupancy limit, but would require the city to establish a waiver process to allow a property owner to make the claim to the city’s board of adjustment that their property is suitable for occupancy beyond what the city ordinance allows. If they can meet the other requirements put in place by a city, then the city may grant them additional occupancy.

SF384, the successor to SSB1073, passed out of the Senate State Government committee unanimously. Among other things, it would now exclude weekends in the calculation of 24-hour notice requirements, and require advisory committees to comply with open meeting requirements, whether or not the advisory committee has any policy-making functions.

HSB167 passed out of the House Commerce committee.  It would provide a uniform set of regulations for the approval of new towers by local governments.  The FCC ruling issued last fall (blogposts here) addressed collocation of facilities and substantial modifications to existing facilities.  This proposed Iowa legislation is directed at new tower siting.  I will provide a more detailed review if/when it progresses.

HF249 a companion to SF 128, passed out of House Local Government committee.  It would amend the requirements for establishing, financing, and dissolving Rural Improvement Zones.

HF457 would require the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to collect information and submit an annual report to the Iowa Legislature about the amount of current and future anticipated debt for cities related to water and wastewater infrastructure. It also prohibits the environmental protection commission from adopting rules that are more restrictive than he federal Water Pollution Control Act, the federal Clean Water Act, and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act relating to wastewater or storm water system or plant construction designs unless the commission determines that more restrictive requirements are necessary to protect public health or the environment.

HF195 passed out of the House Economic Growth subcommittee.  It limits the grounds for designating an area as an urban revitalization area, striking many of the stated reasons for such a declaration from Iowa Code 404.1(2).  Also amends approval requirements.

SF152 – Passed out of Senate Judiciary subcommittee.  It provides, among other things, that the authority to condemn property is not conferred on an acquiring agency unless the governing body for the acquiring agency first approves the final route or site location and design of the proposed public improvement.

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